Should It Be Architectural Media Instead Of Architectural Lighting From Now On?

As the retail and hospitality market grows evermore competitive and consumers demand increasingly more complex and uniquely tailored experiences, how can lighting design support these market adjustments and respond to these challenging requirements?

Leading expert in interactive experiential environments Brad Koerner, principal at Koerner Design, explains more about his approach to this challenge and what he thinks needs to change in the lighting industry to accommodate it.

TiL: You coined the term ‘architectural media’, can you explain what this is and why ‘architectural lighting’ is no longer correct?

BK: UX (“user experience”) design is a hot field. But this is traditionally limited to the confines of the little black mirrors on all our devices. In the real world, we need to think of comprehensive AX (“architectural experience”) design that incorporates all the areas of modern technology systems that impact guest experience. We need to fuse together architectural lighting, digital displays, building management systems, and even the concept of architectural surfaces into one unified design concept – which I term “architectural media.”

TiL: What needs to change in the lighting industry and why?

BK: Narrow categorizations like “architectural lighting” are antiquated and holding back the advancement of architectural projects in general. We need to break these traditional technology silos to advance holistic architectural experience design.

For example, “smart” lighting, sensing networks, building management systems and advanced digital display technologies are all converging on cloud-connected, IP-standard networks. The hardware barriers to interconnecting these systems are disappearing. It will soon cost the same to turn on a single light bulb as it does to feed media to a 4K projector. The entire building becomes a unified interactive media system, which opens up the opportunity to design the comprehensive spatial experience.

TiL: This year the Trends in Lighting conference, TiL 2018, is about stepping outside of comfort zones and learning about, and experimenting with, light from a different prospective. Where have you looked for your inspiration?

BK: I love fusing multiple worlds together. I follow how parametric design and digital fabrication continue to dramatically impact architectural construction technologies. I follow how today’s social media and mobile device cultures are driving fashion trends in architecture and interior design. I follow how integration of advanced media displays continues to push the “edge of the envelope” for theatrical and concert touring projects. I follow the state-of-the-art in interactive experiences created by multimedia art studios or R&D groups like MIT’s Media Lab. Most recently, I find tremendous inspiration in the steady advancement of digital display and media management technologies in the A/V world, especially how these are making huge impacts throughout the hospitality, retail, and transportation markets.

TiL: If you could design an experience for a brand, who would it be and why?

BR: It is not necessarily one brand, but I think the transformation that is happening to retail centres holds tremendous opportunity. Traditional malls are diversifying from strictly retail to mixed leisure concepts, which offers many opportunities for fresh new experiential concepts that blend physical spaces with architectural media experiences.


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